“ADRESSING COVID-19 ON PURPOSE THROUGH THE LOCAL CHURCH” by Dan O’Deens / Breathe Partners
What we are facing today is unprecedented. A dual crisis of both health and economics. The trigger is the COVID-19 and it will come and go, but the greater crisis in the world is one of economics and world debt.
The real ‘cause’ to embrace is the fallout of how an already volatile market will play out when people experience the realities of this new day. The world is not sure of what the most important question is? Warren Buffet said, “If we knew the answer, it would no longer be the most important question.”
Spiritually we have the most important question and we also have the answer as it relates to eternity. The Church must now address the Body of Christ with pragmatic answers to solve real life issues.
- Many will find themselves unemployed
- Businesses will close
- Couples will be home and there will be a baby boom
- The economy will tank and people will figure it out unless we also experience inflation at the same time
- Stress will increase and addictions will increase
- Divorce will increase because we are in a closed environment
- National debt will increase – that debt is on ‘us’
- Real money will turn into virtual money that has no value at all
Having managed large operations at 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina domestically and the Haiti Earthquake internationally, we can learn from the past. In times of ‘crisis’ everything currently ‘on the table’ gets shelved and becomes ‘less urgent.’ A shift in thinking MUST take place. Those who change early will be most ready to meet the needs of society.
The Church must re-focus. The health and economic pandemics we are facing today are not going to go away in the ‘near’ future. When COVID-19 reaches under-developed countries who do not have the healthcare systems to care for this pandemic, we will see the death toll reach biblical proportions.
Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. Extraordinary is realized when ordinary people selflessly step outside of themselves to assist a need and opportunity greater than themselves. C. S. Lewis said, “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” President Barak Obama said, “Change only happens when ordinary people get involved, get engaged and come together to demand it.”
OUR HOPE IS IN THE LORD….God’s vehicle for help is THE CHURCH
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks said, “Optimism and hope are not the same. Optimism is the belief that the world is changing for the better; hope is the belief that, together, we can make the world better.” Rick Warren said, “Optimism is psychological, Hope is theological.” For the believer, Psalm 39 says, “My HOPE is in you.” Christian hope is faith looking at the promises of Almighty God, knowing with absolute assurance that what God has done in the past He can do for you today.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust (or have faith) in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Rom. 15:13 When we hope in God, we put our trust or have faith in His sovereign plan above what the circumstances tell us.
From a verse tucked away in 1 Chronicles 12:32….”from Issachar…200 leaders, they understood the signs of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take.
From the early church: They met in the Temple court and from House to House…We have learned how to do Temple Worship but we must now figure out how to do Table worship.
RESOURCE on How To Lead Worship to a Camera not an Audience from Aaron Keys.
2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and sound mind.”
Proverbs 19:21 “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight for you, you need only be calm.”
Psalm 4:8 “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.”
We plan for the worst of times and we hope for the best of times and we learn to become content in whatever state we find ourselves. This is a ‘learned’ process according to the Apostle Paul who experienced much suffering.
We should learn from Joseph. The Lord showed him that famine was going to come. He planned, he stored up food and the Lord showed him favor. Church we must rise. This is not a time of gloom and doom…this is a time to pray and to plan. A new day is dawning. The day of entitlement might be coming to an end. We must unite!
FOCUS ON FELLOWSHIP
It is not good for man to be alone. We were created for fellowship. Connection and relationship must become our focus. How will we stay connected to our leaders and what are the creative ways to stay in touch with the people in our Church families and communities?
Things to Consider:
- What are we doing to improve the frequency and channels of communication to those we serve?
- How will we serve the tangible needs of people through our small group networks?
- How will we stay connected to those most vulnerable?
- What services can we provide to address the rising needs that these pandemics will bring?
- Food Pantries
- Marriage Counseling
- Job loss and Career Counseling
- Addiction and Recovery Services?
- Financial Planning and Services
- Home Schooling Resources and Network Collaborations
- What social networking tools can we provide training? How to use ZOOM.
- How can we grow while working from home and less dependent on weekend services?
Questions from our People:
- Why does God allow sickness?
- What do I do if I lose my job?
- How do I deal with events outside of my control?
- How do I minister to my family?
- How can we have a ‘safe’ small group?
THE NEED FOR FELLOWSHIP and CONNECTIONS – ZOOM TUTORIAL
Of the 5 Purposes of the Church, what they need mostly at the moment is Fellowship. Due to the isolation factor, we will need to embrace new ways to regularly (I encourage daily) touch our church communities. I have attached a simple tutorial on Youtube that our team from Saddleback put together to assist you and your people in setting up Zoom to connect.
GENERAL RESOURCES for the CHURCH – COVID-19
We have put together helpful tools for your church to use and implement.
SERMON SERIES CHANGE?
Should you consider changing your sermon series and putting what you had planned aside to address the concerns of your people. Saddleback Church has done that. I am forwarding you their new sermon series…a walk through the book of James
“A FAITH THAT WORKS WHEN LIFE DOESN’T”
A Faith That Handles DIFFICULTIES James 1:2-6
A Faith that Helps You Make WISE CHOICES James 1:5-11
A Faith that Helps You Defeat TEMPTATION James 1:12-18
A Faith that Gives You PRACTICAL GUIDANCE James 1:19-27
A Faith that Builds HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS James 2:1-13
A Faith that Helps You STAY CALM in Tough Times James 2:14-26
A Faith that Helps You MANAGE YOUR MOUTH James 3:1-12
A Faith that BUILD STRONG FRIENDSHIPS James 3:13-18
A Faith that Helps You AVOID ARGUMENTS James 4:1-10
A Faith that Helps You QUIT PLAYING GOD James 4:11-12
A Faith that Helps You FACE YOUR FUTURE James 4:13-17
A Faith that Helps You be WISE WITH YOUR MONEY James 5:1-6
A Faith that Gives You PATIENCE While You Wait James 5:7-12
A Faith that Brings Answers to your PRAYERS James 5:13-20
You are NOT alone. We shall stand together. I am praying for each of you.
With much love and respect for all of you Pastors!